WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced today that a five-year, $305 billion transportation bill agreement reached Tuesday by House and Senate negotiators will deliver nearly $1.1 billion to Vermont to improve the state’s roadways.
“While this legislation does not have everything I would have hoped for, I am pleased it includes more than $1 billion for Vermont’s roads and bridges in the coming years,” Sanders said.
As a member of the committee with primary jurisdiction over federal road and bridge programs, Sanders successfully fought for a funding formula that helps Vermont. The final agreement includes a 5 percent increase in funding for Vermont in the first year and a total increase of 15 percent over five years.
The legislation includes several other provisions authored by Sanders that would benefit Vermont, including changes to make Vermont competitive for additional federal funding and lowering the cost of borrowing federal funds for rural projects. Sanders also secured a provision to start the process of creating a national network of recharging stations for electric vehicles.
The bill also includes a 10 percent increase in funding for public transit in the first year and an overall increase of almost 18 percent over five years. “This funding increase is critically important for low-income families, senior citizens, veterans and for people with disabilities in rural areas like Vermont,” Sanders said.
Congress is poised to pass the agreement in the coming days. The current short-term transportation bill expires on December 4. Once approved, this legislation will mark the first time since 2005 that Congress has passed a long-term highway bill.
“The problem isn’t just roads and bridges. Our airports, railways, drinking water and waste systems, harbors and inland waterways, dams and levees, and electric grid are all suffering from a lack of investment,” Sanders said. “While this bill is an important first step, I will continue to fight for legislation to rebuild our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.”
Earlier this year, Sanders introduced the Rebuild America Act, a $1 trillion, five-year plan that would modernize the infrastructure our economy depends on, while creating 13 million decent-paying jobs.
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